Mike Farrell had complicated feelings about B.J. Hunnicutt's mustache

"The mustache was B.J.'s"

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When B.J. Hunnicutt is introduced on M*A*S*H in the fourth season, he's depicted as spritely in his duties when he gets to camp, not yet jaded by grueling shifts in the O.R.

Notably, he’s fresh-faced and cleanshaven.

"In the beginning B.J. was cleancut, fresh from home, naïve," actor Mike Farrell told The Auburn Journal in 1980.

Over time, B.J.'s character shifts, with one critic in The Austin American-Statesman in 1979 describing the character as someone "who quickly slid into the sloth-away-from-home surroundings of 'the swamp.'"

To make that shift obvious to the audience, after the sixth season finale episode "Major Topper," B.J. stopped being cleanshaven and began sporting a mustache.

Seeing the facial hair was a message B.J. had become grizzled by his time at camp.

But that mustache became so much more than just a message. From that point forward, B.J.’s mustache became part of fashion.

In the 1970s, mustaches came back in fashion after popular figures like Burt Reynolds, Dick Butkus and Mark Spitz all rocked them with charm, and unlike the Beatles, there was no political message attached to their shaving decisions.

"Barbers became hair stylistics, and beards and mustaches became fashionable," The Chicago Sun-Times reported in a retrospective of the trend published in 1981.

In 1971, The Chicago Daily News dubbed the mustache a "badge of manhood."

One barber interviewed for that story Vincent Di Pinto said it was common for customers to sit in his chair, pull out Burt Reynolds centerfolds for him to reference and request, "Make me look like him."

"They do," Vincent said. "And I have to tell them I'm no plastic surgeon."

On M*A*S*H, B.J.'s mustache got introduced in 1978, right in the midst of this trend that The Chicago Sun-Times quipped was "growing under the nation's noses."

For actor Mike Farrell, B.J.’s mustache also became part of his identity for his time on M*A*S*H, with nearly every interview he did referencing his character’s signature facial hair — which definitely was distinct from the "Burt Reynolds" style.

B.J.'s stache was its own thing.

Farrell struggled with this, because he didn’t completely identify with his character and wanted to be seen as separate from B.J. — and his mustache.

"We’re not the same – although we’re almost exactly the same height," Farrell told The Democrat and Chronicle in 1983. "I think I’m much tougher than B.J.; I'd be much likelier to punch somebody in the nose than he would."

Whether or not it was due to the mustache is uncertain, but after Farrell grew the mustache, he became a household name and his career quickly picked up, being offered more parts.

Too often, though, people just wanted him to do a character just like his mustachioed B.J. Hunnicutt.

That’s why when M*A*S*H ended, for Farrell, that meant the mustache had to go, too.

"The mustache was B.J.'s," he told The Orlando Sentinel in 1983.

Who do you think sported the best Seventies 'stache?

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35 Comments

DonnaNMI 27 months ago
I always felt like the mustache was more 70’s than the time frame (early 50’s) the show/war were set in. Same goes for the hairstyles.
gerardarcade 27 months ago
TOP 70'S TV MUSTACHES:

• Tim Donnelly, "Emergency!"
• Dennis Weaver, "McCloud"
• Ted Lange, "The Love Boat"
• Frank Converse, "Movin' On"
• John Ratzenberger, "Cheers"
• Hal Linden, "Barney Miller"
• Harold Gould, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
• Alex Trebek, "Jeopardy"
• Dan Rowan, "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"
• Rock Hudson, "McMillan and Wife"
K gerardarcade 24 months ago
Hated Tim Donnelly's mustache. Trebek had a mustache in the 70s, but he didn't join Jeopardy until 1984. Cheers wasn't on until 1982, so Ratzenberger doesn't count for the 70s.
CouchPotato19 27 months ago
Best stache was on Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues!!! R.I.P. Graeme Edge!
F5Twitster 27 months ago
“When B.J. Hunnicutt is introduced on M*A*S*H in the fourth season, he's depicted as spritely in his duties when he gets to camp, not yet jaded by grueling shifts in the O.R.”

The word is spelled SPRIGHTLY.
bnichols23 F5Twitster 27 months ago
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/spritely
bukhrn 27 months ago
Best 70s (or any other time) stache is Sam Elliott.
FestusFan2312 27 months ago
The greatest stache of the 70’s? Don’t know. The best actor stache ever? Has to be Clark Gable.
Invidinvasion 27 months ago
The ad, that prevents one from getting to the story for 30 seconds, really sucks big piles.💩 fun website bogged down with in your face BS. Bye bye. 👎🏻👋👋😝
WordsmithWorks 27 months ago
They should have left BJ's moustache like it was at the end of "The Joker Is Wild." https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0638437/?ref_=ttep_ep4
Andybandit 27 months ago
B.J. was my favorite character on Mash. I just didn't like his mustache. Sorry about that.
MrsPhilHarris Andybandit 27 months ago
That’s interesting because he is my least fav character on the show. 😃
DZee MrsPhilHarris 27 months ago
Agree. All he ever talked about Peg, Peg, Peg.
MrsPhilHarris DZee 27 months ago
Exactly!
Such a shame he couldn't live up to the standards of the bland, insipid, alcoholic, serial adulter Trapper.
K MrsPhilHarris 24 months ago
I never cared for BJ. And I definitely was not a fan of BJ's mustache.
Runeshaper 27 months ago
It's a nice stache! My dad always had 1 and I think it makes him look AWESOME! (-:
LoveMETV22 27 months ago
Abstract topic. At least they'll never run out of story lines. LoL
Peter_Falk_Fan 27 months ago
"Who do you think sported the best Seventies 'stache?" I vote for Rollie Fingers.

Moody Peter_Falk_Fan 27 months ago
Loved that 'stache!
Runeshaper Moody 27 months ago
Now that is a stache!
Coldnorth Runeshaper 27 months ago
Some Major League Baseball pitchers have the best ones
MrsPhilHarris 27 months ago
When I think of 1950s moustaches I think pencil-thin like Cesar Romero’s or maybe like Ernie Kovacs’. I don’t think of a 70s XXX movie style. If the character got all sloppy I wonder why he didn’t just stop shaving? 🤔
daDoctah MrsPhilHarris 27 months ago
Jerry Colonna, anyone?

lynngdance daDoctah 27 months ago
Haha, that makes me think of “Road to Singapore”.

Also he’s the March Hare in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland
harlow1313 27 months ago
Who would have thought that a few facial follicles would begin the long and slow decline in the quality of the show.
justjeff 27 months ago
"Barbers became hair stylistics,"???? Betcha By Golly, Wow, that was a glaring typo! Whether that was a direct misquote or a MeTV blunder, it would make hairs stand on end for any **stylist**...
Pacificsun justjeff 27 months ago
I think they were making the word up. Surely with all those question marks they would've noticed their blunder. Somebody was being cute. Just to see who was reading the story.
justjeff Pacificsun 27 months ago
Y'think? I think not... but 'nuff said!
Moverfan Pacificsun 27 months ago
Or they were listening to the Stylistics while they wrote the article. (Papa's so proud of his little bitty rock and roll baby...)
CaptainDunsel justjeff 27 months ago
Yet another demonstration that spell check is not a proofreading tool.
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